Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Working with the IAPS: Cute overload meets

The International Affective Picture System! IAPS for short.

These pictures, they make you feel things. In a standardized way.

See this guy here wanted to study emotion, so he got this set of pictures together and showed them to people, and he had them rate how good/bad the pictures made them feel, and also how intensely the pictures made them feel that way. And then he averaged these scores.

So now if I want to make you feel happy for the purposes of studying your brains, I can pull out an IAPS picture with a high happiness rating, like bunnies nibbling on cut flowers. The most intense happy pictures are pretty much softcore porn.

But if I want to make you feel unhappy, I can show you a picture of a pointed gun, or a starving child, or a dead kitty. And if I want to make you intensely unhappy, I can show you a mutilated face.

I have spent a lot of my time looking at emotional pictures lately.

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